What I Know About Writer’s Conferences

Basically, nothing. And, this is where you can help me! Yay! *confetti*

This weekend (April 29-30), I’ll be attending my very first writer’s conference: Indiana SCBWI’s Annual Conference.

I know I should look at this from a networking stand point, and take advantage of being around editors, agents, and fellow writers, but being the nerd I am, I’m just so ridiculously excited to go to the sessions, and take lots of notes! *shiny notebook and pens* *check*

Ok, ok, of COURSE I’ll hang out, circulate, and meet-and-greet with all The People, because that’s really where you get the experience and learning, and let’s face it: I DO love meeting new people. (BONUS: I get to meet some of my Twitter and Blog friends there too! *waves hi to Alina, Carol, Clara, and Michele*)

I just like feeling like a student again, and embrace any opportunity to re-live studenthood.

And, I’m an irrepressible nerd. Truth.

So Tell Me: do YOU have any writer’s conference tips you’d like to share with this newbie? What should I bring? And, more importantly, what should I wear?? ^_^

Seasons of Inspiration

Tornado Warning

Image by RaGardner4 via Flickr

Here in Indiana, weather is…unpredictable.  The calendar may say that we are firmly in the spring season, but nature has its own ideas.

Last week, I…

…hid in the basement during a tornado warning.

…took pictures of hail pelting my car.

…pulled on my fuzzy boots because it snowed. Again.

…woke up in the middle of the night as a thunderstorm rolled in and I thought a tree crashed through my roof. (That’s happened before.  Twice.  So, you can understand my paranoia.)

…basked in beautiful sunshine as I ate my lunch outside, to the delight of my sun-starved skin.

It’s both awe-inspiring and humbling to see the influence that nature has on us and how we in turn, respond to it.

I have been working on a couple of Works In Progress now, which isn’t as confusing as it seems since they’re so different and are at different stages.  My first WIP is in a revision stage, and honestly, I plan to focus on it more this month than my second WIP, which is only in the rough draft stage.  So even though first WIP gets more of my structured writing time, I still let my muses play with second WIP during random times like driving to work or while my store is empty.  That’s the beauty of a rough draft: unbridled creativity and imagination.

My first WIP, I started writing in the fall during NaNoWriMo.  It’s dark and disjointed and looking back, probably reflected the madcap emotional turbulence of both NaNoWriMo and working through two retail jobs during the holiday season.   My second WIP was born on a bitter morning, the bleak winter landscape a perfect setting for a character filled with the helplessness, anger, and resentment that biting, sub-zero temperatures can create.

This week,though, something odd happened as I drove to work.  Well, two things really.  First, because of extremely gusty winds (I’m talking blow-you-into-the-next-lane-without-warning gusts), I ended up driving 5-10 miles under the speed limit.  (No comment on my normal driving speed.)  Second, I realized that I was dreaming up words for another WIP.

Now, this bout of inspiration didn’t just happen.  The WIP my muses brought to mind is one that I’ve had in the back burner for basically my whole life, but I have never dared to capture it in words.  My current WIPs were born out of fun ideas that I followed to their inevitable conclusions.  They are exercises in my mental stamina and discipline to finish a task. This other WIP, though…it’s different.

This WIP (which for clarity we’ll call third WIP) matters the most to me because it encompasses all of my unspoken fears, hopes, loves, dreams.  It’s basically a straight window into my soul.  As such, even thinking about it both inspires me and intimidates me.  I’m too emotionally invested in it, which is why I never felt like I can write it the way it needs to be written.  The way it deserves to be written.  So, I’ve gotten used to just ignoring it.

But then, the wind whipped just right and I imagined a curling wave.  The humidity and warmth reached a specific threshold and I delighted in memories of tropical sun showers.  My cautious wariness of other cars brought to mind the winding road to Hana (on Maui).

Now, I can’t help but wonder: should I follow my muses into this third WIP?

SO TELL ME: I know writers find inspiration everywhere, but do YOU have seasonal “moods” when it comes to your WIP? Do YOU find yourself reading a book or genre during specific times of year because it “felt” more like summer or winter?